With training camps and the start of the 2019-20 NHL season drawing closer, thought begins to drift to which players will don a Colorado Avalanche sweater for the first time. There will be a lot of new faces in burgundy due to a group of trades and new signings made over the summer but those who will be wearing the snowy A in their NHL debut are a special kind of anticipation.
Last year in the 2018-19 season we saw four players make their NHL debut which were forwards Sheldon Dries and Logan O’Connor, defenseman Ryan Graves and goaltender Pavel Francouz. All four had been brought in over the past year and the coaching staff made quick use of them. Then there was the spectacular bonus in the playoffs with Cale Makar’s first ten games with the Avalanche although he is still technically waiting for his regular season NHL debut.
The coming 2019-20 season about the same number of debuts is a fair expectation however all would likely come in the form of an Avalanche drafted prospect, which has not happened in the regular season since Andrei Mironov in 2017. All the possible AHL depth player call-ups such as new faces TJ Tynan and Jacob MacDonald have seen their first NHL game and therefore are not in consideration plus AHL mainstays like Mark Alt have already played for the big club as well.
Debuts many are hoping for come from a group of highly touted defenseman. First and foremost it’s expected recent fourth overall pick Bowen Byram gets in at least a handful of games even if the Avalanche decide to send him back to the Vancouver Giants in the WHL for the bulk of his season. Conor Timmins is another that if he proves healthy and progresses well could get fast tracked to some time in the NHL in the coming year. Better late than never Nicolas Meloche still needs a look at the highest level as well in his third and last year of his Entry Level Contract.
On the forward side it is really up to a pair of 20-year old former first round picks in Martin Kaut and Shane Bowers. Both will have the responsible two-way game and required professional experience to warrant a call-up this season and could have a strong argument to stay if they fit in and perform well. There’s also always a long shot chance that someone like Nick Henry or Ty Lewis could force themselves into the conversation with a strong start to the year in the AHL for the Colorado Eagles.
Twenty-two year old rookie goaltender Adam Werner could also see some action in the NHL if the right circumstances present themselves especially considering he’s currently the only other goaltender beyond Philipp Grubauer and Francouz in the organization with a NHL contract. Werner is new to North American professional hockey but has played at the highest level in Sweden and could hold the fort down in an emergency. Even if the Avalanche add another experienced goaltender before the season begins Werner remains an option.
How many NHL debuts will the Colorado Avalanche have in the 2019-20 season?
This poll is closed
2 or less
7 or more